In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, the Long Island Power Authority’s response to the storm and its efforts to restore power to 1.1 million customers has been much discussed among politicians and residents alike.
But while LIPA’s task was daunting, a recent Newsday analysis comparing the response of LIPA and that of New Jersey’s PSE&G following Sandy show the latter completed nearly twice the work with half the manpower.
According to Newsday, PSE&G completed 2.1 million electric-service restorations after Sandy by Nov. 10, compared with LIPA’s 1.1 million completed restorations by Nov. 14.
As both power companies worked to turn the lights back on for their customers, LIPA did so utilizing 10,496 linemen and tree trimmers by Nov. 10, part of a total workforce of 14,000. PSE&G had 4,700 linemen and tree trimmers working at the same time.
Michael Hervey, out-going chief operating officer with LIPA, told Newsday that the “breadth and complexity” of the task facing the utility on Long Island following Sandy was part of the reason for the difference between the utility companies.
He also told Newsday LIPA had in excess of 40,000 damage locations. But Newsday’s analysis found that PSE&G worked to repair more than 60,000 damage locations.
In addition to PSE&G tackling a job nearly twice the size of LIPA’s with a third of the workforce, the Newsday analysis also found that the New Jersey utility did so for nearly one-quarter of the cost when compared to the Long Island utility.
Newsday reported that PSE&G spent between $250 million and $300 million to complete its post-Sandy work, replacing some 2,400 utility poles. LIPA spent approximately $950 million and replaced nearly 4,300 utility poles.